Turkey arrests Kurdish journalist on terrorism charges

Journalist Selamet Turan

A court in southeastern Turkey has ruled for the arrest of journalist Selamet Turan, who was detained last week, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Monday.

Turan was one of two journalists who were detained in police raids on Friday. A Diyarbakır court ordered that she be held in pretrial detention after questioning.

The other journalist, Kibriye Evren, was released under judicial supervision along with 15 others who were detained as part of the same investigation.

Journalists in Turkey commonly face accusations of terrorism, insult, denigration and inciting hatred in connection with their work. Recent legislation enacted by the government has also criminalized spreading “false or misleading information.”

Those reporting on the situation of the Kurdish minority and the Kurdish political movement often face charges of membership in or disseminating propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The prosecutors of these journalists typically cite their news coverage and social media commentary as evidence in their cases. The indictments rely on Turkey’s anti-terror laws, which are frequently criticized for being overly broad, allowing too much room for interpretation.

Many human rights groups have also reported a lack of judicial independence in the country, which was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October, dropping one rank in comparison to last year.

Turkey is among the top jailers of journalists in the world and was ranked 165th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, among 180 countries, not far from North Korea, which occupies the bottom of the list.

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